Male Discrepancy Stress: What It Is And How It Affects Men

Male discrepancy stress

Several investigations have been carried out on gender roles, the results of which suggest that Men who firmly adhere to traditional norms regarding the male gender are more likely to commit violent acts towards their partners.

However, this hypothesis is not the only explanatory cause of intimate partner violence, since there are other variables that can influence it. On the other hand, stress due to male discrepancy was investigated because the research found that men who do not conform to masculine roles could also be at risk of engaging in intimate partner violence.

It should be noted that the results obtained from research on the relationship between stress due to male disagreement and a series of violent behaviors in order to demonstrate one’s masculinity cannot be extrapolated to the general population because more studies would be needed that can demonstrate this correlation.

Thus, In this article we will explain what male discrepancy stress consists of and what have been the results of the research carried out in this regard.

What is male discrepancy stress?

Male discrepancy stress consists of a form of prolonged suffering that some men suffer when they do not meet traditional expectations regarding the masculine gender, having to demonstrate attributes such as dominance, toughness or strength, among others. Therefore, they may suffer psychological anguish and in turn this could precipitate them to carry out sexually and physically violent behaviors with the aim of wanting to demonstrate their own masculinity.

As we will see later, the relationship between stress due to male discrepancy and acts of violence in a relationship or in other contexts that has been found in the research that will be discussed in this article is not conclusive nor does it have a sample large enough to be representative within the general population.

However, it is important to take into account this concept known as male discrepancy stress and the negative psychological repercussions it has for those who suffer from it, as well as for those around them; since the objective of these investigations is to provide more information, both to other researchers and to the general population, information regarding this topic.

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Research on male discrepancy stress In a study conducted by Dennis E. Reidy and his collaborators on male discrepancy stress, in which 600 men between the ages of 18 and 50 participated, in which they had to complete questionnaires regarding the topic to be investigated.

In one of the questionnaires they had to answer some questions on a Likert scale, from 1 (disagree) to 7 (completely disagree); All questions being related to traditional male gender roles in society, these questions being listed below:

The study initially sought to investigate and identify whether stress due to male discrepancy is a risk factor for carrying out physical, psychological and sexual aggression by heterosexual men against women, concluding that this association was true.

Therefore, it has been found that men who suffer from what is known as male discrepancy stress, perceiving themselves as less than the average man, They may interpret some ambiguous interactions as challenges to their own masculinity This could trigger them to carry out responses in order to demonstrate or reaffirm their status of masculinity. On the other hand, it was found that there was a greater correlation between male discrepancy stress and intimate partner violence among younger people.

Stress due to male discrepancy in adolescents

A study on male discrepancy stress was conducted involving 589 adolescent males in Wayne County, Michigan, USA. In this study, they completed a survey that assessed gender role discrepancy, male discrepancy stress, and history of physical and sexual partner violence.

Through a regression analysis, it was found that children who had reported having a gender discrepancy and the associated male discrepancy stress, in general, were at increased risk of becoming involved in future acts of violence

The study’s conclusions explained that male discrepancy stress in the adolescents who participated in the study could make them more likely to carry out violent behaviors against women as a means to demonstrate their masculinity to themselves or other people and also to deny possible threats against their masculinity from their partners.

As with studies carried out with adults, it must be taken into account that this study cannot be extrapolated to the general adolescent population, since there are more factors that influence a person to commit violent actions.


However, it is important to also keep in mind this study carried out on stress due to male discrepancy in the adolescent population in order to identify possible risk and protective factors, as well as raise awareness in the general population about the importance of people from adolescence learn to respect their partners.

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It is also essential to raise awareness among the population that Masculinity, like femininity, is much more complex than possessing or not possessing a series of characteristics traditionally associated with each gender For example, in the case of masculinity, which has typically been associated with strength, dominance or toughness, BUT if we stick only to possessing such superficial characteristics, when a person does not conform to social canons regarding gender roles, is when problems arise, such as stress due to male discrepancy.

Male discrepancy stress and emotional distress

In a study carried out with university men, it was found that stress due to male discrepancy could trigger a hyperstereotyping of behavior and a series of mental health conditions, causing emotional distress. In this study, the experiences of 5 university men who reported stress due to male discrepancy were analyzed in order to investigate their perceptions about said discrepancy, as well as the associated emotional discomfort and the effects this had on their behavior.

The results of the study showed that Self-criticism on the part of the subjects evaluated along with negative comments about their masculinity received from other people caused them emotional discomfort changing also to highlight feelings of sadness, fear and anger.

The study concluded that stress due to male discrepancy and the self-perception of the men who participated in the study makes them prone to carry out risky behaviors in order to show greater masculinity and the feeling of not being able to carry out behaviors that they traditionally They have been associated in society with masculinity, it causes them emotional discomfort.

As with the other studies that have been mentioned, it should be noted that they cannot be extrapolated to the general population.

Conclusions from research on male discrepancy stress

Mosher and Sirkin found in their research that in cases of men who suffered from male discrepancy stress It was common for them to use aggression in any situation in which they feel a threat or challenge towards their own masculinity Among all forms of aggression, it was found that physical violence was one of the most common and prominent methods that these men carried out in order to demonstrate that they were equally or even more masculine than the average man.

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Other studies have found that men who experience high levels of male discrepancy stress reported feeling insecure about their masculine role, so they can carry out a series of behaviors in order to demonstrate and equalize the perception of their masculinity with that of other men. It is even possible that these perceived threats to their masculinity cause them to further increase their insecurity not only in the area of ​​their intimate relationships, but in any other area related to interpersonal relationships.

The findings of these investigations should be interpreted with great caution because the effect sizes for the predictor variables individually were small, so the factors suggested that could contribute to men’s violence against their female intimate partners are not entirely clear, as is the case with male discrepancy stress.

It must be taken into account that the results of research that have found a relationship between suffering stress due to male discrepancy and committing aggressive behaviors, including partner violence, in order to demonstrate that masculinity itself is in accordance with the Traditional canons regarding masculinity in society do not have sufficient empirical support to be extrapolated to the general population, since more studies are needed and with larger samples to demonstrate that this hypothesis is conclusive.

It should also be taken into account that the self-report questionnaires used in the research may not accurately reflect the behavior of the respondents in real life, which is also the case with the prevalence rates found.

Nevertheless, longitudinal studies are intended to be carried out about the prediction of gender violence based on the fact that the man suffers stress due to male discrepancy, among other factors that could be related, such as the socialization of gender roles or the onset of intimate partner violence in adolescence.

Although this study has some limitations, it is important to take it into consideration and be aware that many men suffer psychological discomfort because they feel that their masculinity is being questioned, suffering from the aforementioned stress due to male discrepancy. It is also crucial to take into account the relationship of this discrepancy with intimate partner violence, because it can serve as a basis for future research in the field of gender violence and the predictive variables that are related to these deplorable behaviors.